Travelers Are Going Digital

The world’s travelers say mobile devices are as vital for travel as for other aspects of their life whilst the desire for new technologies, such as voice search, e-payment and digital room keys, to simplify and enhance their travel experience is increasing. Travelers are going digital and a lot quicker than most predicted.

These are among results from the Travelport 2018 Global Digital Traveler Survey of 16,000 travelers from 25 countries which include:

Mobile remains crucial, but travelers want a consolidated experience:

  • Almost half of those surveyed have booked and paid for an entire or part of a trip through their smartphone. China is the global leader, with close to 100% of survey participants booking and paying for travel through their mobile phone
  • Nine out of ten now have apps to make their life easier when at their destination with maps, airlines, weather and social media topping the list of favorites
  • On average, travelers use 10-12 apps throughout the searching, booking and traveling parts of their trip
  • The top three most important features identified by leisure travelers in their travel apps are the ability to search & book flights (68%), real-time flight alerts throughout their journey (64%) and being able to see an entire trip itinerary in one place (67%)  
  • Only around a fifth of travelers are currently using itinerary management tools.

New technologies are continuing to grow in prominence:

  • Over half of travelers use voice to search either during booking or whilst traveling – up 3% on last year globally
  • In China and Turkey, over 70% of travelers are already using voice search. However, in Japan and some parts of Europe, the proportion of travelers using voice search is less than 40%
  • Almost half of all respondents, both leisure (47%) and business (55%), think the ability to pay using Apple/Android pay (Touch ID) is important or very important
  • Over half of business travelers asked said they wanted to be able to check in to their hotel via an app, rather than at a reception desk. 50% also wanted to use a digital room key to unlock their hotel room door from their phone.

Travelers want technology to continue to simplify and enhance the travel experience:

  • Most travelers asked would happily use biometric scanning to reduce the need for waiting in security lines, with little difference between those traveling for business (81%) and those traveling for leisure (75%). For Nigerian travelers, with one of the youngest populations in this year’s survey, 90% said they were happy to share personal data to speed through customs and immigration
  • Over two-thirds of travelers think digital boarding passes make travel so much easier

Gordon Wilson, President and CEO of Travelport, commented “We can all see the way technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives. The travel industry has always been about new experiences and adopted new technologies early. This is as true today, with such high demand for voice search and biometric screening, as it was when I joined this industry almost thirty years ago. 

India leads the way fas their travelers are going digital:

India was crowned champions for the second year in a row as the country with the most digitally-advanced travelers.  The standings are based on a combination of the main indicators of using technology to enhance the travel experience. For example, India’s top position is maintained due to 69% of the country’s travelers using voice search, over 60% wanting digital room keys and 88% saying they are influenced to travel by friends on social media.